As it was my husband's birthday last weekend, we arranged to take the prize last week, and chef Mario Presi came to our house to create a very special dinner for two. He had already visited to help me plan the menu and this time he brought two helpers with him who set to to transform our dining room from this
While they were creating the restaurant - having brought everything with them from candles to lighting, and cutlery to music - Mario got to work in the kitchen. He was cooking constantly from when they arrived just after noon until late in the evening! My kitchen, which is quite used to seeing a lot of activity on a daily basis, had nevertheless never experienced anything like it. Every surface was covered in wonderful food and the finest ingredients.
Eventually it was time for dinner and we settled down in the living room, which had also been transformed with a beautiful arrangement of flowers
Mario Presi, who recorded each dish as it was ready to be served)
Finally, as I don't eat dessert, Mario had provided us with a platter of beautiful Italian cheeses which was served with a selection of fresh fruits and some delicious sesame crackers. And as well as coffee, he offered a selection of teas including my favourite after-dinner drink, fresh mint tea.
We'd had a wonderful "evening out" - with no worries about getting home afterwards, no irritation from other diners (why is the person at the next table always the one with the loudest voice?) and no stress about being rushed to make way for the next party. And a wonderful meal at home with no cooking or washing up. The kitchen was left spotless and the fridge was so full of food that we made all our meals for the next two days from the leftovers.
Thank you to Peroni and everyone involved in running the competition for making this amazing experience possible, and to Mario and his helpers for turning the dream into reality. It was an evening we will remember forever.